‘I was present when Pollard’s perfidy was exposed’


This letter was written by Sidney H. Krimsky, a resident of West Hempstead, in response to last week’s column by Jonathan S. Tobin that was titled, “Ignore Jonathan Pollard’s terrible advice.” 

I was employed by the Department of Defense for 20 years assigned to work for the United States Air Force which is how I know what I am telling you.

I and about 100 employees of the DoD were present at a classified briefing at a secret location in Baltimore after Jonathan Pollard’s perfidy was exposed and he was arrested. I traveled from Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts to attend the security briefing because my responsibilities included a “need to know.” There were other briefings by security agents about different subjects.

The FBI agent who arrested Mr. Pollard gave the briefing about Pollard. The FBI had a search warrant for Pollard’s apartment and one closet had a metal cabinet filled with classified and unclassified documents and there were cardboard boxes filled with documents from floor to ceiling. Pollard copied everything he could that he thought would be helpful to his Israeli handlers. The Israelis rented an apartment near the Naval office with a Xerox machine that Pollard used to make copies. He returned the originals to the designated government office to avoid suspicion but kept the copies and gave them to his handlers.

In college, Pollard told people that he was a member of the Mossad. He was delusional. Of course, Mossad employees never reveal their employer.

After graduation, he applied to the CIA for employment and was rejected because he was considered unreliable. He applied to the Navy and was hired as an analyst by the Naval Intelligence Service. They had no reason to ask for the CIA rejection record or ignored it. Titles in the government do not always correspond to the assigned tasks. Pollard was assigned as a courier to transfer classified documents from one building to another. This is before emails. Faxing was considered unsecured transmission for classified documents.

His handler was a full colonel in the IDF and about a year later was promoted to general to the chagrin of the FBI members on the case. For his work, Pollard accepted a fee of $10,000 and a trip for him and his wife to the Riviera in France. Pollard was an idealist. Money was not the driver.

The Israeli Government knew what he was doing and that is the reason he was not allowed to enter the embassy and was arrested on the spot. The Israeli government categorized this operation as a rogue operation by an Israeli loyalist.

Some of the information provided by Pollard revealed the defense postures of Arab countries hostile to Israel. The USA had treaties with these countries to protect their classified information just as we expected those countries to protect USA classified information. If the Israeli government admitted to acquiring this information via illegal channels, it would create headaches for our State Department.

If Pollard honestly believed he knew information essential for Israel’s defense, he could have leaked the information to the media, or referenced the documents, without providing any documents. Pollard received the same briefing from the Navy as I received from the USAF JAG lawyers and AFOSI personnel. Title 18 of the US Code defines espionage as “providing classified documents to a representative of a foreign interest.”

If Pollard had proper legal advice, he would only have lost his job without an indictment. Committing espionage for good intent and for an allied country is irrelevant. The classified information obtained by the Israelis was used for other purposes besides learning about Syrian defenses.

After his arrest, Pollard was told not to talk with anyone about his experiences. He gave an interview to Wolf Blitzer and this infuriated the FBI agents. The FBI threatened to indict his wife Anne unless he pleaded guilty. There was no trial. The judges sentenced him to life in prison which really means 30 to 35 years. I learned that his wife tried to negotiate with other countries by providing documents. She spent a few years in jail.

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Robert Hanson and Aldrich Ames were also sentenced to life in prison, for revealing names of moles in Russia who provided intelligence to the USA. The moles were arrested by the KGB and executed. The sentences of Hanson and Ames should have been longer. No mole died because of Pollard’s perfidy.

At about the same time an American citizen, Ben-Ami Kadish, a mechanical engineer working at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, was arrested for passing classified mechanical drawings to an Israeli handler from 1979 to 1985 including nuclear weapons data, classified jet fighter weapons system data, and key information on the Patriot missile system. He was arrested, fined, and fired. He was 62 at the time and was ready to retire. He did not go to jail.

Whenever there is mishandling or loss of classified material, the agency asks an employee to prepare a Damage Assessment Report (DAR), The assigned employee conducts interviews, reviews documents, and writes a detailed report for the chain of command. The DAR is used to describe what happened, assign responsibilities, deceive an adversary and suggest ameliorations to prevent a reoccurrence.

I never saw the document. I had no “need to know.” I do understand the process because I had to write such DARs. The DAR may be shown to judges but are not introduced in court because, if introduced, they would be subject to cross-examination as is true for any document introduced in a court of law. I am sure that Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger saw the DAR. He had reason to be unhappy. He was not an anti-Semite.

The consequences of the exposed spying activities for Israel entered the minds of the top administrators of the DoD that some Jewish employees might have dual loyalties and should be denied sensitive assignments that could lead to promotions. Mr. Pollard would never understand this.

I never saw any such comments in writing and never heard any such comments from my military bosses. I never experienced anti-Semitism during my 20 years working for the DoD. Years later there was a DoD ruling that persons with dual citizenship could not receive a security clearance. The DoD tightened its rules for handling classified material.

Jonathan Pollard was probably a good kid who was delusional and craved recognition by being a savior of Israel. He lost 30 years of his life in prison. The US has a long reach. My suggestion to him is to shut up about his experiences.